Improved Cook Stoves for East Africa - Rwanda
Imparted efficiency measures include collecting small branches instead of cutting down whole trees, growing their
own fuel, and using dry firewood that minimizes smoke emissions. Good kitchen management practices include usage of
only a small quantity of firewood, dry firewood only, a lid on pots to retain heat, soaking beans before cooking,
and preparing all ingredients before lighting the fire. The initiative also encourages households in Rwanda to
consume less firewood, and consider trying other forms of solid biomass such as crop residues and briquettes.
Helping the planet
The project aims for efficient and sustainable tapping of natural resources - using less forest resources at the household level helps preserve such resources for the community. Leaving trees standing allows them to carry out an important carbon-storage function, addressing the problem of climate change.
Collecting less firewood from forests can also prevent erosion and sedimentation of rivers, which is harming ecosystems and hydropower generation. Using more efficient stoves also means less air pollution, both indoors and out.
Households save time, effort, money, and possible bodily harm by utilizing more efficient cook stoves. Stoves improve quality of life by reducing exposure of especially women and children to smoke. They also allow Rwandans to invest more time in activities besides collecting firewood. Through money generated by selling stoves, they are able to do things like pay school fees, improve their homes, and buy livestock.
The Rwandan project is to some extent a replication of a similar project in Malawi. It’s still in its beginning stages, targeting households in 11 of Rwanda’s 30 districts. While low-income rural households are currently being targeted, the project will eventually include middle-income households as well as other biomass efficiency projects, such as green charcoal production, green brick production, and development of productive thermal appliances.
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